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Hospitals Scramble to Pay for Opioid Crisis

Hospitals across the country are being impacted by a seemingly un-ending stream of opioid-related costs.

For example, Modern Heatlhcare reports that In 2017, the Cook County Health & Hospitals System, which includes flagship Stroger Hospital on the Near West Side, treated 4,000 to 5,000 patients whose chief complaint was related to opioids, up from about 1,000 people in 2006. In 2017, opioid-related cases cost about $25 million. Each case on average cost just over $6,000, including overdose revivals in the ER and hospitalizations.

The tab can climb quickly when doctors treat a handful of opioid cases a day. But 84 percent of these patients at Cook County Health have insurance at a system that’s greatly benefited from the ACA. In 2013, 54 percent of patients were self-pay, which typically means they were uninsured.

“We’ve seen quite the range of folks coming in with overdoses,” says Dr. Steven Aks, a toxicologist and an emergency room doctor at Stroger. “Young kids from the suburbs that come in the city and use, people from our community that have been using heroin for years.”

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To read more about how opioid-related costs are impacting hospitals, please visit Modern Healthcare.

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